The new Fort Stewart WIC clinic officially opened its doors last week and is ready to serve an estimated total caseload of 19,000 clients, according to Coastal Health District WIC Coordinator Tonya Scott.
Clinic staff informally celebrated the opening with client families on Thursday, handing out balloons and door prizes.
A formal grand opening was held Friday with area leaders from Fort Stewart, the Coastal Health District and more in attendance.
“This is the fourth largest (WIC clinic) across the Coastal Health District,” Scott said Thursday, adding that the clinic has the highest rate of breastfeeding mothers among its clients.
WIC, which stands for Women, Infants and Children, is a federally funded nutrition-education program. Its mission is to provide supplemental food, nutrition education, social service and health referrals to income-eligible pregnant or postpartum women, infants and children up to age 5 to improve their health. The Coastal Health District serves Liberty, Long, Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn and McIntosh counties.
Scott said many soldier fathers often support their spouses and children who participate in WIC at Fort Stewart by coming to appointments with them.
Spc. Jeremy Oakes, 22, and his wife, Amanda Oakes, 19, attended the informal opening with 5-month-old daughter Kianna. Amanda Oakes said she participated in WIC in her home state of New Hampshire while her husband was deployed to Iraq with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
“It’s been a big help,” she said. “They give us (young mothers) a lot of encouragement to breastfeed our infants.”
Read more in the Aug. 3 edition of the News.